Village seeks volunteers to clean up Agassiz Park

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Once the most beautiful park in the vicinity of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company’s property, Agassiz Park once had tree-lined paths, flowering trees, and flower beds. In the years since the park was dedicated in 1923, Fourth Street, and large parking area, claimed a large portion of the park. The park that has served the community for 96 years, needs the community to dedicate just a bit of service to the park.

CALUMET — Agassiz Park is in dire need of help, and the village council is appealing to the residents for help. Trustee Nathan Anderson, along with Downtown Development Authority Chairwoman Leah Polzien, are asking for volunteers to get together on Tuesday, May 28, at the park, with shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, and donations of grass seed and straw.

Anderson said some 250 students from the CLK Schools will be on hand for one and a half to two hours, starting at 9 a.m., but adult volunteers are also needed, along with tools. For those who cannot volunteer but have tools, the village seeks to borrow them.

Tools can dropped off at the village hall, where they will be tagged with the owner’s name, so they can be promptly returned. Grass seed and straw donations can also be dropped off at the village hall.

“I just wanted to say that (I was) going around the town and noticing how dirty it looks, and uncared for,” said resident and former village council member, Peggy Germain, at Tuesday’s monthly council meeting, “and Agassiz Park in particular.”

The Agassiz Park clean-up has long been in the planning stages, however.

“It’s part of a bigger effort to clean up Calumet’s image,” said Trustee Nathan Anderson. “It’s steady progress.”

Anderson said while the village does not have a lot of money, what it does have is a very supportive community.

“What we are finding,” he said, “is that’s how you get some of these projects done, is to get out and solicit help. The more that more people who volunteer their help, the more other people will volunteer their help.”

Anderson said this year’s clean-up will not just be picking up trash, as it has been in the past.

“What we’re going to do is, we’re going to rake out the stamp sand,” he explained. “We’re going to rake out all the ruts. We’re going clean up all the bare spots. This is just the beginning of a greater effort this summer to make improvements in the town. We’re going to try to get volunteer efforts, get county crews to paint curbs and crosswalks painted, and get ready for Hockeyville.”

The clean-up is also an opportunity for residents to come together with a unified goal of using community pride to instill a deeper pride, and a sense of belonging.

The park was funded by the Agassiz family and dedicated on Sept. 26, 1923, as a memorial park to Alexander Agassiz, the president of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, and the founder of the village of Red Jacket. When it was dedicated, the paths of the park were lined on either side with trees, predominantly maples, along with Lombardy poplars. Flower beds containing lupines, peonies, roses, rhododendrons, lilacs and roses were once prominent in the park.